IHSJ Reader     February 2012     Issue 17         

Note: Triple asterisk (***) indicates subscription-only sources.



Why the Global Fund Matters (Paul Farmer, New York Times, February 1, 2012)
In this powerful op-ed, Dr. Paul Farmer highlights the importance of sustaining support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Dr. Farmer outlines four reasons for ensuring the existence of the Global Fund, including its vital role in: reducing the intolerable burden of preventable and treatable diseases and expanding access to health care, strengthening and building local health systems, and promoting multilateralism. Farmer concludes by arguing that the economic recession cannot be used as an excuse to cut off support to millions of people around the world who depend on the Global Fund for survival.

10 Years On, Funding Crisis Threatens the Global Fund’s Effort to End AIDS (Joanne Carter, Huffington Post, January 30, 2012)
The Global Fund’s achievements in providing prevention, treatment, and care for diseases of poverty have been extraordinary. However, the entities that finance the Fund have not kept their promises and a few months ago, the Global Fund announced that it would be suspending new grants due to lack of funds. Former Global Fund Board Member and Executive Director of RESULTS, Joanne Carter, argues that such funding shortfalls are unconscionable. The U.S. should convene an emergency donor conference in advance of the International AIDS Conference in July 2012 to garner the funding needed to continue the critical work of the Global Fund into the next decade.



The Rockefeller Foundation's Heather Grady On Politics, Policy-making, And The Implementation Of Health Financing And Delivery Mechanisms (Heather Grady, UHC Forward, February 1, 2012)
In this Rockefeller Foundation blog post, Heather Grady discusses what it takes to drive progress towards universal health coverage. A number of lessons have recently emerged from Thailand, Ghana, Rwanda, India, and other countries committed to improving health outcomes for the poor. First, health financing should be considered a key contributor—not cost—to development and economic growth. Second, from a rights-based approach, expanding access to essential health services can enable historically marginalized people to experience and claim their basic right to health. Finally, it takes pressure from domestic interests, civil society organizations, and international donors to catalyze the political will necessary to fundamentally shift health systems towards universal health coverage.



Resolving the Food Crisis: Assessing Global Policy Reforms Since 2007 (Timothy Wise and Sophia Murphy, Global Development and Environmental Institute and Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, January 2012)
The global food crisis of 2007-2008 helped shift donor attention back to agriculture, nutrition, and rural development. But beyond modest increases in development assistance, this report finds that governments of rich countries have been unwilling to tackle the structural causes of rising food prices—including biofuels expansion, price volatility, and land grabs. Wealthy countries should not only give more, but they must take less if we are to prevent the next food crisis from erupting.  “Giving more” includes more policy space for developing country governments to advance local solutions such as national and regional food reserves.  “Taking less” includes regulating corporate profiteering in the financial, trade and foreign investment arenas.  With one billion people vulnerable to food insecurity, humanitarian assistance alone cannot sustainably reverse widespread suffering and death from hunger and malnutrition.



***Momentum to Tackle Non-Communicable Diseases Must Be Maintained (Matthew Limb, British Medical Journal, January 25, 2012)
At the Cambridge Post-UN Summit Conference on Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health in Developing Countries last month, experts on NCDs presented a challenge and a call to action for the international community: keep up momentum around treating diseases that cause 63% of deaths worldwide. Conference participants agreed that the 2011 UN Declaration on NCDs is far too weak and public and political action is needed to halt the growing NCD epidemic.



Tectonic Shifts: What Haiti’s Massive Earthquake Exposed About the Country’s Past – And Tells Us About the Present (Mark Schuller and Pablo Morales, Kumarian Press, January 2012) 
This new book draws upon the diverse perspectives of 59 scholars, journalists, activists, and allies to illuminate the “structural vulnerability” facing Haiti before and after the earthquake.  The firsthand accounts explore institutional failures and their impact on the Haitian people, as well as the myriad ways in which communities are organizing to influence the social, political, and economic terrain. Partners In Health physicians Louise Ivers and David Walton are both contributing authors.

Helping The Disabled in Post-Earthquake Haiti (Whit Johnson, CBS News, February 5, 2012)
After the devastating earthquake two years ago, few programs offering prosthetic support were available to those with disabilities. Now, with the help of Shelove Julmiste and a team of physical therapists, technicians, and community health workers, Partners In Health and Zanmi Lasante are running an organized rehabilitation program. Shelove had both legs amputated after the earthquake and now accompanies other Haitians with disabilities on how to live with prosthetics.

Haiti: Where Did the Money Go? [Episode 1] [Episode 2] [Episode 3] [Episode 4] [Episode 5]
This U.S. public television series examines the impact of NGO relief efforts after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  The documentary awakens viewers to the inhumane living conditions that more than half a million displaced Haitians continue to endure across hundreds of camps. Unless donor assistance is used to strengthen local institutions and increase access to public services such as sanitation, water, housing, health, and education, what should be life-saving assistance will continue to bypass those most in need.